The saga of Rio Rancho Public Schools Career-Technical Education building added another chapter the evening of Feb.6, when the Rio Rancho Public Schools Board of Education approved a joint use agreement with Central New Mexico Community College.

The joint-use agreement is expected to be formally approved on Feb.13, when members of the RRPS and CNM boards tour the facility, have dinner and then meet, at which time both sides are expected to ink the agreement.

At the RRPS board’s 16-minute special meeting on the 6th, with only member Jeffery Morgan absent, a 4-0 approval was given for RRPS to renovate what was once the Alliance Data Systems building at 7001 Zenith Court for students learning skilled trades – electrical, plumbing, HVAC, computer information systems, etc. – and CNM will build an automotive/transportation center on its Rio Rancho campus.

The two entities will share expenses to operate the facilities. High school students will share teachers and space with CNM students at both sites.

“This is a really nice agreement that I think serves our students well,” RRPS board member Noreen Scott said.

“(The agreement) took a while to be able to put together,” RRPS Superintendent Sue Cleveland said, adding the cooperative agreement will help “not only our students, (but also) the adults in the community … and benefit local businesses,” because “we have such a shortage of skilled workers.”

Although that all sounds simple enough, Cleveland cautioned, “We are still working on financing this,” and she’s hopeful the state Legislature will manage to provide a continuing revenue stream for the state’s school districts that are providing or are hopeful of providing such CTE opportunities.

The board also unanimously approved, via second readings, four policies, which entailed some minor changes in wording: Policy 1022 (Reporting Student Abuse of Alcohol or Drugs), Policy 600 (Fiscal Management Goals), Policy 601 (Annual Budget) and Policy 602 (Budget Development).

The RRPS and CNM tour of the CTE building on Zenith Court will start at 4 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 13. Dinner will follow, with the two boards expected to hold a joint meeting at about 5:30. It will be livestreamed on the district’s website (